Friday, December 4, 2009

Busy Bee...

That is what the Earlham Music Department is this month.  A bunch of busy bees!  We have so much going on in December--I feel like my planner is going to explode if I write one more thing in it!  But it's going to be a great month!  Tomorrow is the community Craft Bazaar which we will be taking part in this year.  We'll be serving a delicious breakfast from 8:00-10:30, gift-wrapping, and selling hot cocoa, cider, homemade candy, sweatshirts/t-shirts, and CDs all day!  We also have several students singing and/or playing carols while shoppers do their thing.  We're hoping it will be a great money maker for us!  We have lots of things we want to do in the future and they all cost some dough :) Mainly, go to CHICAGO! But more about that a little later...

Tomorrow afternoon we will be taking part in the first annual West Glen Caroling event...they invited local school groups to sing for one hour in West Des Moines.  They will compensate us with a very generous $200 donation!  What a fun way to earn some easy cash for the department!  We'll have students, parents, and friends all singing together--should be lots of fun!

Think the weekend is over? Guess again.  The high school choir was asked to provide some holiday entertainment for the E-Bank's Christmas party on Sunday evening.  So after a full day on Saturday, we'll get together Sunday evening and sing our hearts out one more time!  It's always fun to get out into the community and show them what we're all about.  This weekend will definitely be great exposure for what is happening here--and I think people will be pleased!  To get kids to come in and volunteer their time on a Saturday AND Sunday speaks highly of their dedication to their own program.  And I only had to bully a few people into it :) just kidding! You guys are all great!

Well the weekend is almost here...time to double and triple check (thanks OCD...) my to-do lists to make sure everything is ready to go!  Then on to the next big event...Cocoa, Carols, and Chili on Sunday December 13th!  It's never-ending music fun here in Earlham :)

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Choir Festivus

Today is the High School Conference Vocal Festival! We leave around noon for a full day of singing in Des Moines!  These types of events are usually pretty fun.  Generally when you see other schools in the conference, you are competing against them.  Trying to beat them at football or basketball; trying to get into an auditioned honor choir.  It's always about being better than the other schools; always about winning something.  Conference Vocal Festival is a time to come together and do something as a large group.  We all learn the same songs and sing them together. No one gets a rating--no one wins a trophy--no one has to go home feeling defeated.  It's all about doing your best and show casing what YOUR school's vocal music program has to offer.  It's a time to stand next to kids like yourself from a different community and sing with them.  It's a long day no doubt--lots of rehearsal--stand up, sit down, be in a hot crowded gym all day, hope your neighbor put on deoderant this morning--but it's fun :) Plus, who DOESN'T like skipping school for the day and singing! I know I always did. I'm just excited that everyone in our choir will get the opportunity to feel proud of their work and hear what other schools are doing.  Sometimes you get so wrapped up in what's happening in Earlham, IA that you forget there are other people and places out there.  It's nice to get out and experience something new!  Today should be a great day!

Monday, October 26, 2009

look at the date...

Someone pinch me. Is it seriously the end of October? Where have the past 2 months gone??!! Time is FLYING by. I guess that's good though--we've been super busy and accomplishing a lot! No time to look at the calendar :) In the past five weeks, Earlham Choir members have:

-auditioned for Opus
-auditioned for All-State
-put on a GREAT concert
-will be auditioning (tonight!) for ISU Honor Choir
-completed one quarter of choir and lessons...1/4 done with the school year!!

That might not seem like a big deal, but it is! There is so much behind the scenes work that goes on to make all that happen.  First of all, honor choir auditions take a lot of outside effort to all we have had about 25 people take on this responsibility! For a program with only 50 some kids in it, I take that as a HUGE success! There seems to be lots of interest and excitement building up--I can't wait to see what the future years will hold here :)

Our concert last Thursday...AWESOME. I heard great comments from students, parents, faculty, everyone! We had some scary moments rehearsing the previous week--but that always happens right before a concert.  There is always a minor dip in progress about the week or two before a big event...then right before something clicks and wonderful music is made :) I'm so proud of all you middle school and high school students for your hard work to make that night a success!

Well now that things have *sort of* calmed down here, I will be better about posting more entries.  Sleep left me long ago, so I'm struggling to find the motivation to do this weekly :) But I'm guzzling down coffee and picking myself up again! Here's to a great last week in October and hopefully another successful month ahead! November looks to be exciting--conference honor fest for high school choir, convention for me, and THANKSGIVING BREAK! Hallelujah ladies and gents--rest is on the way :)

Have a GREAT Monday :)

Friday, October 9, 2009


I went to see Wicked last night at the Civic Center and WOW. Awesome! Here are two clips of the cast that is touring now:

Marcie Dodd singing "Defying Gravity"

Helene Yorke singing "Popular"

This cast was incredible...glad I got to see it!

Friday, September 25, 2009


So I was looking up the song "Feelin' Good" and was surprised at how many different covers have been done in the past! I thought I would share a few examples just so you could compare how artists interpret the same song in very different ways!

1) The Original

Written by Anthony Newley and Leslie Bricusse, "I Am Feeling Good" was originally for the 1965 musical The Roar of the Greasepaint—the Smell of the Crowd. 

2) Nina Simone

A popular cover is by Nina Simone, an African American singer, pianist, arranger, and composer. 

3) Michael Bublé

Another popular cover today is by Michael Bublé, a Canadian singer and actor.

4) Adam Lambert

On the most recent season of American Idol, Adam Lambert wowed everyone with his version.  I loved it!

5) The Dear Abbeys

A few weeks ago, Mr. Braet recommended listening to The Dear Abbeys, an a cappella men's group from Boston University.  They arrange lots of rock music for all male voices.   They also had a version of "Feelin' Good".

There are tons more out there...these are some of my favs! Enjoy!

Friday, September 18, 2009

The Power of One...

This guy recorded himself singing all 6 parts...the blend is amazing! Very, very cool stuff.  Lots of practice...see what happens when you put a little (or a lot) of time into something?? :)

Friday, September 11, 2009

a day to remember...

Seems hard to believe that at this time 8 years ago, I was sitting in high school watching 9-11 coverage live. I still can't even fathom that it actually happened...let alone how "normal" the term seems now.  It's like 9-11 isn't a date anymore, but an event that will always remain with us.  There was so much media coverage for so long...and now it's a normal part of our lives.  Every year on September 11th we remember what happened and how lucky we are to still be here and be able to feel somewhat safe...I feel I'll be 75 years old and still vividly recalling what happened that day. 

In choir we're singing "Song for the Unsung Heros" which was commissioned by a high school choir on the East Coast in rembrance of 9-11.  Everyday we pull it out of our folders and work on dynamics, rhythms, notes, and funky 3-part splits amongst the sopranos and altos.  It's just another song that we have to work on each day to get ready for our next concert.  We get in the habit of rehearsing music for music's sake and never really stopping to think about why a certain song exists.  Music is most often written with something in mind.  Whether it's about love, death, being young, life changing events, or baseball games...there is almost always a reason for a particular songs existence.  ESPECIALLY vocal music--the words are over 50% of the song.  Why is it, then, that we don't even pay attention to what we're singing? We get so wrapped up in making sure we are hitting correct pitches that we forget WHY we're singing.  Music is the language of our souls...not the language of singing in tune...of course it helps to sing in tune and we much prefer it that way! But singing feels good. It allows you to express yourself and display emotions that maybe you wouldn't normally display.  It tells a story, happy or sad. We weren't in NYC on September 11th, 2001. But we were somewhere.  We remember what it felt like to know our nation was being attacked.  We have families that we don't want to lose.  We have lives that we want to keep living.  So maybe today when we sing, we'll actually take a moment to think why this song was created...and maybe we'll feel something when we rehearse.  Perhaps we can stop worrying about correct pitches, and just sing because it's fun, it's meaningful, and we're just happy to be alive and able to sing to our heart's content...